Cholesterol, the fatty substance in your body, functions to guard your nerves, cell and tissues and involves in the production of hormones.
Liver cells produce cholesterol required for the body and we also get cholesterol from our food we eat.
Adding too many cholesterol-rich foods can have a negative impact on your health. Fortunately, lifestyle modifications can go long way in improving your cholesterol profile.
Lipid profile comprises of total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL or bad cholesterol) carries cholesterol to the body and high-density lipoprotein (HDL or good cholesterol) removes cholesterol from the bloodstream. High lipid profile indicates that your total cholesterol and LDL are at high levels, whereas the HDL is at a low level which is bad for you.
Doctor’s advice to bring down your LDL and total cholesterol and to increase your HDL levels, there are therapeutic ways that can help you, but lifestyle changes can help you to improve your cholesterol levels in a great way.
Lifestyle Changes To Improve Cholesterol Profile
Evidence proves that regular physical activity can help in increasing your HDL levels than medications. Exercise can also bring down LDL cholesterol, total cholesterol and triglycerides. Your goal is to work out for 30 minutes or 150 minutes of exercise in a week. Always consult your physician before starting any specific exercise plan, walking is the best exercise recommended for all age groups.
Walk during your lunch break, take the steps instead of elevator, park your two-wheeler a kilometer away and walk the distance to work, involve in your favourite sport and always stay motivated.
Even 10% of weight loss goes a long way in improving your lipid profile. Obesity can raise your cholesterol levels tremendously, aim to lose at least 5- 10 kg of weight to lower LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol levels.
Smoking has a major impact as it can constrict your blood vessels and lower HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol that removes the bad cholesterol away). Even passive smoking can impair your lipid profile, talk to your physician about executing a way to quit smoking.
Go For Heart Healthy Diet
Add on more fruits and vegetables in your meal that are low on fat. They add variety to your diet and super rich in fibre, essential vitamins and minerals needed for the body. Aim to have at least 3-5 cups of vegetables and 2-3 whole fruits in a day. In addition, add more fibre by choosing whole grains cereals and legumes.
Pick good fat which is also part of a healthy meal plan such as unsaturated fatty acids found in sunflower, gingelly, mustard, groundnut and olive oils for cooking.
Include foods rich in Omega 3 fatty acids such as salmon, mackerel, and tuna, nuts and seeds such as walnuts, almonds and flaxseeds. These are good for the heart and does not elevate your cholesterol levels.
Reduce the intake of saturated fats such as red meat, organ meat, margarine, lard, butter and all saturated foods from animal sources all of which can significantly increase your lipid profile.
Stay away from trans-fat foods, these are partially hydrogenated fats added in almost all packed foods (biscuits, cookies, crackers, chips) to increase the shelf life and taste. Limit the intake of processed foods.
Limit Alcohol Intake
Moderate intake of alcohol is advisable for healthy persons, too much alcohol can increase your risk for other health issues including high blood pressure, heart failure and strokes.